RWAMAGANA- Retired civil servants in Rwamagana District, grouped under Rwanda Association of the Retired (RAR) have appealed to the government to raise their pension benefits and pay them on a monthly basis rather than quarterly.
Led by Jean Damascene Rwasamirera, the association’s chairman, the group told The New Times yesterday that the current global economic crisis had worsened their plight owing to the little funds disbursed by the Rwanda Social Security Board each semester.
Rwasamirera underscored that most of the retirees contributed a lot to nation building while in active service, and needed to be properly treated by the state now that they are old and out of employment.
“Pensioners should be paid monthly and not after three months...it is also illogical not to increase the payment of pensioners when people in active service get a pay rise. We all face global economic challenges the same way,” he argued.
Rwasamirera explained that pensions for some former civil servants who served the nation for more than 35 to 40 years, remains very low because they were among workers in the lower income bracket.
The issue has been pending for long, he added, something concrete should be done about it, to enable Rwandan pensioners in the lower income group to also enjoy a decent living.
Pierre Maniraguha, 65, a retired teacher, similarly appealed to the authorities to increase the monthly pension pay, particularly for pensioners who retired with low salaries.
He said that the current payments to former civil servants were too meagre to help the elderly make ends meet.
“People insisted on keeping in active work when they clock retirement age...the reason is simple- the little pension is so scary. Imagine the pension people used to get in 1980s is what they still get today,” he observed.
Rwamagana District Labour Inspector, Olga Sesonga, advised the pensioners to take up the issue with the Rwanda Social Security Board.
“There could be some irregularities that demand for discussions from all stakeholders. I thus advise the pensioners to follow that line,” she advised.
The retirement age in the country is between 55 and 65 years.